Anthropology | Social and Cultural Anthropology
E200 | 7081 | Tucker

Have you heard the phrase, “you are what you eat?”  The consumption
and production of food is common to all peoples. Yet the ways that our
food is produced and consumed, and our choices of preferred food, are
distinctive indicators of who we are and our relationships with the
rest of the world.   By focusing on food, this introductory course on
sociocultural anthropology gains a window to the great diversity of
world cultures as well as the similarities that unite all humanity.
We will explore broad themes, including  (1) the meanings and
importance of food as part of culture, identity, and social
relationships, (2) how changes in food production and consumption
reflect transformations in society, technology, and political economy
through time, (3) how food production systems and consumer choices
impact the environment and biodiversity, (4) how people deal with
potential threats to food quality, such as radioactive fallout from
Chernobyl, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and Mad Cow Disease,
and (5) how individual lives and cultures are impacted by unequal
access to food and the means to produce it.  As part of the class, we
will learn about variations in typical foods and diets around the
world.  The class will participate in exercises that explore what food
means to us, and consider the implications of food choices for
ourselves, our society, and the planet.